Hong Kong really is a must visit place on a China tour, as it is so much a part of the whole china story. Its also a very vibrant, modern and busy city. Its a popular place for shopping with most things being tax free.
The region is small but still home to seven million people, the 1000 square kilometers that makes up Hong Kong consists of three main regions including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories along with many surrounding islands. Kowloon and the northern part of Hong Kong Island, known as Central, is the hub of activity.
Hong Kong has an interesting history, being a pivotal place where relationships between the east and west were battled out in the early days of international trade. Trade disputes emerged between the British and Chinese who had banned imports of British opium and war broke out between the two parties.
After the first Opium War, which started in 1839, Hong Kong was ceded to the British Forces and became a British Colony, staying that way until 1997 when it was returned to Chinese rule. But it retained a level of autonomy, having its own political and economic system, and is now referred to as a Special Administrative Region of China.
Hong Kongs tumultuous past has made it a very different place compared to the mainland. Many people speak english, there’s a large non-Chinese population including lots of Indians, African-Americans, westerners in general and many from the Philippines.
It’s much more multi-cultural, with an odd mix of British and Chinese culture, liberal open mindedness, mated with rampant consumerism matched by a hunger for the dollar. It’s an eclectic place.
And its busy, streets are jam packed with people going from here to there, and walking down the main streets of Hong Kong is like riding in a show ground bumper car. Many a time I played ‘footpath chicken’, let me tell you Hong Kongese don’t give away an inch of concrete easily…
The place moves at a fast pace too, after leaving, it felt like I’d just had an upgrade from a slow going PIII to buzzing Dual Core, the pace of Hong Kong is infectious.. Everywhere you look, at whatever time of day or night, whether on land, in the sky or on the water, there’s something or someone going this way and that way, usually in large numbers, and usually in a hurry!
Hong Kong isn’t a cheap place to visit in comparison to other parts of china, but maybe still a little cheaper than the west. Accommodation is pricey and the rooms are all small. Food isn’t cheap either, until you find decent places off the beaten path.
For me, the best part of Hong Kong, remembering I haven’t explored outside it’s built up areas, was taking in its history and pondering whether this is the China of tomorrow. Along with admiring it’s amazing harbour and the city’s vibrant nature.
Hong Kong Map with hotels
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More places for great deals and regular specials on Hong Kong hotels and hostels:
Hong Kong Hotels via Zuji
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